Hosts Malaysia Start Strongly But Aussies Steal World Teams Show

WSF Juniors MalaysiaKuala Lumpur: The Malaysian girls put their disappointment in the individual event behind them on day one of the CIMB Foundation WSF Women's World Junior Team Squash Championship in the country's capital Kuala Lumpur - but it was Australia who stole the show to kickstart the event at the Bukit Jalil National Squash Centre.

Former champions Australia, the 10th seeds, had a tough draw after being placed in Group B together with second seeds Malaysia, seventh seeds Canada and the 14th seeded Japan.

But they proved that seeding is really just a number after putting up a spirited showing to beat Canada 2/1 in their opening tie.

And it came down to third string player Remashree Muniandy to deliver the heroics against Canada's Brianna Jefferson.

Down 2/1 in the deciding match and facing match-ball in the fourth at 10-9 down, the Malaysian-born 17-year-old saved that point and subsequently saved two further match-balls before taking the game 15-13.

That proved to be the crucial swing as Remashree - clearly inspired by being back on 'home' soil - went on to secure a turnaround 7-11, 12-10, 5-11, 15-13, 11-4 win to give underdogs Australia the unexpected win (picture below shows the jubilant Australian camp after the victory).

Earlier the Canadians had stormed into the lead when Erica McGillicuddy downed Sze Yu Lee 11-7, 11-8, 6-11, 11-8 before Australia levelled the tie through Alex Haydon who took out Charlotte Orcutt 11-7, 11-4, 10-12, 8-11, 11-2.

Australian head coach Paul Price was certainly pleased with his team's performance, especially with the chance of competing in the quarter-finals at stake.

"It's a huge win for us as we're seeded 10th while the Canadians are 7th. We knew this was the crunch match for us in order to make a breakthrough to get into the top eight," said the former world No.4.

"The performance showed a lot of spirit and heart and if they play the way we knew they could then we could also back this up against a solid Japan.

"Today however, I thought the team came back up strongly after the first loss. They managed to dig in to grind out the result and I thought it was an amazing performance."

With Australia - who won the title in 1995 but have failed to finish in the top eight since 2005 - due to play Malaysia on Tuesday, the big win over Canada was certainly very welcome indeed.

Malaysia earlier showed they meant business by whipping Japan 3/0 in the other Group B clash.

Ooi Kah Yan started off by beating Ayumi Watanabe 11-3, 11-3, 11-4 before Chan Yiwen cruised to an 11-2, 11-2, 11-4 win over Erisa Sano Herring. Ainaa Ampandi rounded off the win by beating Kurumi Takahashi 11-1, 11-2, 11-4.

Malaysian national assistant head coach Andrew Cross (pictured above with the Malaysian squad) believed it was just the response the team needed after Yiwen and Aifa Azman's disappointment in the individual event.

"It's good to get back on court after the individuals and we just needed to get started to get the job done," said Cross.

"Aifa was given an extra day's rest but she'll be back to face Australia tomorrow. I think we just need to be as professional as we can against the Aussies.

"The key is to go in, finish it and be well rested and prepared for Wednesday since we have the last group match and the quarter-finals on the same day."

Meanwhile defending champions Egypt - led by the newly-crowned world junior individual champion Hania El Hammamy (pictured below in early team action) - also got off to a storming start with a merciless display in beating Singapore 3/0 in Group A.

Third seeds Hong Kong China also enjoyed an easy start in Group C, winning both their matches against New Zealand and Ireland 3/0.

Fourth seeds England also got off to a winning start, beating Republic of Korea 3/0 and then South Africa 3/0.